Category Archives: Bible
Our preacher at Wellspring, Andy Hudelson, encouraged us to participate in a Bible reading plan this year. He shared a strategy from Wayne Coreiro’s book Divine Mentor in which you basically allow the writers of the Bible to become your mentor for 30 minutes a day. Andy encouraged those at Wellspring to journal about their thoughts on our Church’s community website. Below is what I shared there on today’s passage, Matthew 6-10.
Today’s reading had me dwelling on Matthew 6:33. “Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” I used to think that this was some sort of system that would get me anything I wanted. Chapter 7:7-9 would serve as further confirmation to me that if I wanted something, I just had to ask. As I have grown in my walk with Christ, I have learned not to gloss over the important parts like, “Seek FIRST his kingdom.” It’s amazing how when we are putting kingdom needs first how unimportant the things we typically ask for really are.
The chapters for todays reading reflect this kingdom perspective in ways that are really difficult for me sometimes. I can often be a judgemental worrier who would rather walk the broad road to build my house on the sand. Seeking first his kingdom centers me. It forces me to ask if my will is aligned with God’s will and if it is not, I probably need to stop the asking and get centered on Jesus.
The cost of this is not going to put me in comfortable places. In chapter 10, verse 17 Jesus tells his disciples, “Be on your guard; you WILL be handed over to the local councils and be flogged in the synagogues.” Jesus does not paint a pretty picture of the cost of discipleship but in the end He offers this encouragement, “Anyone who welcomes you welcomes me, and anyone who welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. (Mt. 10:40)” Jesus wants his disciples to have a kingdom perspective and to seek first His kingdom. I believe the reward that Jesus has to offer here is contentment in believing that following him is the best way to live. Christlikeness is the reward of seeking first his kingdom.
We all like second chances. Today we went to the Spring Hill Country Ham Festival. All sorts of booths and vendors were set up. Many had little games for the kids similar to those you find at a carnival or a fair. When I play games like washers or hit the balloon with the dart, I always feel like I am going to do better the second time around. I heard a kid today ask if he could have a second chance at a game he’d not done so well on. When he continued to have some difficulty, he asked again, “Can I have a second chance?” I guess sometimes we need third chances…or fourths…
Krista and I decided a while back that in order for things to function well in our house, every now and then we need to be allowed by each other to have bad days. This does not mean we give each other free reign to disregard the feelings of family members. It simply means that every now and then, you have a bad day and an extra measure of grace is needed to simply get through.
With our children we decided we would start giving “Do-Overs.”
It’s probably not hard to believe that in the house with a kindergartener and a 2-year-old that we get the occasional scream between sisters. They are both quite good at it and didn’t seem to need much practice to perfect it. Often our curious toddler will decide to push the buttons of her older sister and the response is ear-deafening. Though we don’t always respond with a good example this is a prime situation to offer “Do-Overs.” We say to our five year old, “Wow, I am so sorry she treated you like that. Would you like a do-over on how you responded.” Our daughters know that we are much more likely to intervene if they have tried to work it out on their own and have been unsuccessful. We simply like for them to give it a go first. Perhaps we are catching a little back talk after we have asked them to do something. Simply asking, “Would you like to try that response again?” shows that we disapprove of their first response without them feeling like they are incapable of getting it right.
We feel this extra measure of grace every now and then is a good concrete way of helping them to understand something about God which is very abstract. I certainly do not understand everything about God’s grace. Giving “do-overs” to our girls gives us something that we can refer back to and even incorporate scripture. 2 Peter 3:9 says,
“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. “
If we were to reword this as parents, it might read:
“Your parents are not slow in helping you succeed in life. They are patient with you, not wanting you to suffer, but to arrive at the right way to handle things.”
Usually if given the option of a do-over or a consequence kids will choose a do-over. It’s a great chance to share the great news of Jesus with them in the process. He has given you do-overs!
I picked up a new Bible study guide today and decided that I would blog my response to the “Journaling” section rather than write it out in my book. The passage for my reading today was 1 John 1:1-2:2.
Here’s the question:
What are some practical things Christians can do to strengthen their fellowship with one another?
In a previous question I defined fellowship as the “willful partnering with others in the life and mission of Jesus.” We have solidarity in the terms of our relationship with him enough that we can mutually benefit in our discipleship. I have been thinking all afternoon about what sort of practical things Christians can do to foster this type of solidarity. I was reminded of a strategic half hour between worship and Bible class at one church I attended that was called “focused fellowship.” For parents it meant 25 minutes longer than was needed to wrestle with kids in the hallways and keep them from sneaking extra donuts. For others it was a chance to warm their coffee or get a bite of breakfast since they left the house in such a hurry. Could this environment be characterized as fellowship? I believe it could, just needs to be a bit more intentional.
I do not believe that being in the proximity of other Christians means you are fellowshipping unless something is happening that draws you into a better imitation of Christ. So practically speaking, some intentional things that I would consider fellowship might be:
- Having a clearly communicated purpose to intentional inactivity. i.e. “Let’s get together and just share life together!” or “Between worship service and class we hope you will encourage each other over coffee in the foyer.”
- Taking a meal to a family that just came home from the hospital.
- Getting together for coffee to hear what has been happening in someone’s family in hopes of encouraging them to press on through struggles.
- Gathering with a group of men to play ultimate frisbee to strengthen bonds and accountability.
John 1:3 says:
“We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. We write this to make our joy complete.” (TNIV)
And verse 7:
“If we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.” (TNIV)
Fellowship with others creates joy and helps us to walk in the light. When we have such an openness in community with others who believe that Jesus’ blood purifies us, it is difficult for us to walk in darkness. Dr. Grover Carlton Emmons in a prayer he wrote says, “Forbid that I should walk alone in shadowed valleys, or grope in perplexity when I am privileged to walk with Thee in the light.” Being in the fellowship of the light helps to illuminate our darkness and bring order to our confusion. As we participate in community with others who carry the name of Jesus we shine light in darkness and our lives intersect in ways that make joy complete.
I decided to create a list of memory verses for my family to learn throughout the year. I picked 50 verses which we will spend a week reciting. When I was in college, one of my professors had a similar list and called it his “Nifty Fifty.” I decided to adopt it for this list as well. Each of these verses was hand-picked because it does one of the following:
- It helps my family to know the character of God, His Son and how to respond to him.
- It shows a way for my family to live more like Jesus.
Kellar’s Nifty Fifty
- Exodus 20:12 – Honor your father and mother. Then you will live a long time in the land the Lord your God is giving you.
- Deuteronomy 6:5 – Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. Love him with all your strength.
- Psalm 103:13-14 – A father is tender and kind to his children. In the same way, the Lord is tender and kind to those who have respect for him. He knows what we are made of. He remembers that we are dust.
- Psalm 118:24 – This is the day which the LORD has made; Let us rejoice and be glad in it.
- Psalm 119:11 – I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.
- Psalm 119:105 – Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.
- Psalm 127:3 – Children are a heritage from the LORD, offspring a reward from him.
- Psalm 139:14 – I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
- Psalm 147:3-5 – He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name. Great is our Lord and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit.
- Psalm 150:6 – Let everything that has breath praise the LORD.
- Proverbs 1:10 – If sinful people entice you, do not give in to them.
- Proverbs 1:8-9 – My child, listen to your father’s advice. Don’t turn away from your mother’s teaching. What they teach you will be like a beautiful crown on your head. It will be like a chain to decorate your neck.
- Proverbs 3:5-6 – Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Do not depend on your own understanding. In all your ways remember him. Then he will make your paths smooth and straight.
- Proverbs 13:10 -Pride only leads to arguing. But those who take advice are wise.
- Proverbs 14:6 – Those who make fun of others look for wisdom and don’t find it. But knowledge comes easily to those who understand what is right.
- Proverbs 20:11 – A child is known by his actions. He is known by whether his conduct is pure and right.
- Proverbs 25:18 – A person who lies about his neighbor is like a club, a sword or a sharp arrow.
- Isaiah 26:3 – Lord, you will give perfect peace to anyone who commits himself to be faithful to you. That’s because he trusts in you.
- Isaiah 43:5 – Do not be afraid. I am with you.
- Jeremiah 29:11 – I know the plans I have for you,” announces the Lord. “I want you to enjoy success. I do not plan to harm you. I will give you hope for the years to come.
- Matthew 22:39 – Love your neighbor as you love yourself
- Luke 2:52 – Jesus became wiser and stronger. He also became more and more pleasing to God and to people.
- Luke 12:34 – Your heart will be where your riches are.
- Luke 6:31 – Do to others as you want them to do to you.
- Luke 6:38 – Give, and it will be given to you. A good amount will be poured into your lap. It will be pressed down, shaken together, and running over. The same amount you give will be measured out to you.
- John 3:30 – He must become more important. I must become less important.
- John 5:24 – What I’m about to tell you is true. Anyone who hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He will not be found guilty. He has crossed over from death to life.
- Acts 20:35 – It is more blessed to give than to receive.
- Romans 6:23 – When you sin, the pay you get is death. But God gives you the gift of eternal life because of what Christ Jesus our Lord has done.
- 1 Corinthians 10:31 – Whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.
- 1 Corinthians 16:13-14 – Be on your guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be brave. Be strong. Be loving in everything you do.
- Galatians 5:22-23 – But the fruit the Holy Spirit produces is love, joy and peace. It is being patient, kind and good. It is being faithful and gentle and having control of oneself.
- Galatians 6:9 – Let us not become tired of doing good. At the right time we will gather a crop if we don’t give up.
- Ephesians 2:8-9 – God’s grace has saved you because of your faith in Christ. Your salvation doesn’t come from anything you do. It is God’s gift. It is not based on anything you have done. No one can brag about earning it.
- Ephesians 4:29 -Don’t let any evil talk come out of your mouths. Say only what will help to build others up and meet their needs. Then what you say will help those who listen.
- Ephesians 4:32 – Be kind and tender to one another. Forgive each other, just as God forgave you because of what Christ has done.
- Ephesians 6:1 – Children, obey your parents as believers in the Lord. Obey them because it’s the right thing to do.
- Philippians 2:3-4 – Don’t do anything only to get ahead. Don’t do it because you are proud. Instead, be free of pride. Think of others as better than yourselves. None of you should look out just for your own good. You should also look out for the good of others.
- Philippians 4:13 – I can do everything by the power of Christ. He gives me strength.
- Philippians 4:6-7 – Don’t worry about anything. Instead, tell God about everything. Ask and pray. Give thanks to him. Then God’s peace will watch over your hearts and your minds because you belong to Christ Jesus. God’s peace can never be completely understood.
- Colossians 3:2 – Think about things that are in heaven. Don’t think about things that are on earth.
- Colossians 3:23 – Work at everything you do with all your heart. Work as if you were working for the Lord, not for human masters.
- 1 Thessalonians 5:17 – Never stop praying.
- 1 Timothy 4:12 – Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young. Set an example for the believers in what you say and in how you live. Also set an example in how you love and in what you believe. Show the believers how to be pure.
- Hebrews 13:5 – Don’t be controlled by love for money. Be happy with what you have.
- James 1:5 – If any of you need wisdom, ask God for it. He will give it to you. God gives freely to everyone. He doesn’t find fault.
- James 1:19-20 – Everyone should be quick to listen. But they should be slow to speak. They should be slow to get angry. A person’s anger doesn’t produce the kind of life God wants.
- 1 Peter 5:5 – Follow the lead of those who are older. All of you, put on a spirit that is free of pride toward each other as if it were your clothes.
- 1 John 5:3 – Here is what it means to love God. It means that we obey his commands. And his commands are not hard to obey.
- Revelation 22:12-13 – Look! I am coming soon! I bring my rewards with me. I will reward each person for what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega. I am the First and the Last. I am the Beginning and the End.
A psalm of David.
The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.
he leads me beside quiet waters,
He guides me in paths of righteousness
for his name’s sake.
through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD
When I was a kid, the church we went to had a huge tapestry in the foyer. Depicted on it was a pasture with nearly a hundred shades of green. Etched around the edges was this psalm of David. Passing by this every Sunday morning, evening and Wednesday night numbed me to it’s beauty and the power it’s words have for life. I can’t say that I have ever heard a sermon preached on it. I don’t think it was ever one of my required memory verses. I have recently come back to this neglected verse and it has become a source of strength for me.
God is always doing one better. It is not enough for God that he provides physical nourishment with green pastures – he restores my soul. The journey he is taking me on wanders deeper than beside quiet waters – he guides me in paths of righteousness. The darkest evils are ignored when we realize his presence is greater, his rod and staff mightier and his comfort so assuring that we can feast at his table right in front of our enemies. When God anoints with oil…
Abiding in him, love and goodness follow.
This is where I want to serve from. What would happen in my family if I lived in the 23rd Psalm. How would the ministry God has given me be affected if it is out of the overflow of what he is doing in my life? If I were walking in paths of righteousness for HIS namesake instead of mine, what would look different?
The LORD is my Shepherd, I shall not be in want … but to follow.